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EDINBURGH 2019: BWW REVIEW: SERIOUS FACE, Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters


EDINBURGH 2019: BWW REVIEW: SERIOUS FACE, Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

EDINBURGH 2019: BWW REVIEW: SERIOUS FACE, Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters Quickfire comedian Amy Howerska gives off a frantic energy the moment she begins Serious Face. She remarks on marrying an Irishman and moving to California, as well as her Swansea family and her other married friends. She's no stranger to the Fringe, or to comedy, but this delivery feels uneasy and on edge.

There's a lot of clever commentary in Howerska's material - over-exaggerated observations into the differences between America and home, or how married couples can't seem to comprehend the lifestyle of their token single friend. Her comedy has clowning aspects to it, best delivered through her physical mannerisms as well as her lightning-quick delivery. But as each joke fails to land with the impact that Howerska is clearly intending, she starts to become aggressive, nervous and intense.

It doesn't help that the audience are heavy on heckling and that the tech is clearly below par. But Howerska rarely gives these punters any space to process and laugh. If a jocular reaction isn't immediate, the gag is summarily dismissed with a drop kick.

As the energy in the room starts to calm down, become less standoffish and hostile, so too does Howerska relax into her material. She is her greatest critic and biggest enemy, tired and defeated and concluding that because she isn't performing to her target audience she shouldn't even bother. But once Howerska settles into the long-form portion of her routine, the narrative starts to coalesce. It's still sporadic and difficult to track, but it flows with a more comfortable fluidity.

It's too little too late for the true impact of Serious Face to be felt. And when Howerska cuts her final epilogue short - she doesn't think that she has the pre-requisite emotional connection with her audience - she hammers the final nail into her own coffin. Serious Face has glimmers of intrigue and acerbic wit. But with such a pessimist outlook, Howerska has given up as soon as she begins.

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